Apr 17, 2013, 12:57 PM EDT
If there’s one team that appreciates the importance of goaltending, it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Jackets came into last season with one of the highest payrolls in the NHL, but they didn’t have the right goalie.
They finished dead last.
And wouldn’t you know it, they’re fighting for a playoff spot.
“The big thing [Bobrovsky's] done for our team is he’s just given our whole team confidence,” head coach Todd Richards told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “That’s what that one position can do to a team. It’s no different than in baseball when you have your ace of the pitching staff taking the mound; you go in with a different feeling that day. It gives everyone else confidence. That’s what Bobby has really done. He’s played great and he deserves all things people are talking about in terms of maybe awards at the end of the year. He’s earned that. But the big thing for our team even more than the big save here and there is the confidence that it gives everyone else to go out and play.”
Bobrovsky is 17-10-6 with a .931 save percentage.
Among regular starters, only Ottawa’s Craig Anderson (.949) has a higher save percentage than Bobrovksy. (And Anderson only has 19 starts to Bobrovsky’s 32.)
The Jackets aren’t the only team that’s seen its goaltending improve dramatically this season, with a resultant jump in the standings.
Toronto and Chicago have seen it, too. The Maple Leafs are on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time since 2004; the Blackhawks have barely lost all year.
Meanwhile, teams like Calgary, Florida, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Tampa Bay and Carolina can only wonder where they’d be had their goalies been better or healthier.
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- Report: Trottier to join Sabres’ coaching staff 8
- Blues sign former eighth overall pick Mueller 25
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center 40
- Eric Staal has surgery to repair ‘core muscle injury’ 6
- After not seeing ‘eye-to-eye’ with Carlyle, Reimer will compete for No. 1 gig 16
- Two down, one to go: Wings ink Tatar to three-year, $8.25M deal 12
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal 63
- Subban not eager to discuss contract talks 34
- Leafs re-sign Reimer — two years, $4.6 million 22
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal (63)
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain (45)
- New Caps regime plans to keep Ovechkin at RW (for now) (42)
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center (42)
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal (39)